WKFS
WKFSlogo2019.png
Broadcast areaCincinnati, Ohio
Frequency107.1 MHz (HD Radio)
BrandingKiss 107.1
Programming
FormatContemporary hit radio
Subchannels
Ownership
Owner
WCKY, WEBN, WKRC, WLW, WSAI
History
First air date
August 1, 1969 (1969-08-01)
Former call signs
  • WLYK (1969–1985)
  • WRXY (1985–1986)
  • WJOJ (1986–1988)
  • WRBZ (1988–1991)
  • WAQZ (1991–1998)
Call sign meaning
For "Kiss FM"
Technical information
Facility ID70866
ClassB1
ERP2,800 watts
HAAT264 meters (866 ft)
Transmitter coordinates
39°06′58″N 84°30′07″W / 39.116°N 84.502°W / 39.116; -84.502
Links
WebcastListen live (via iHeartRadio)
Websitekisscincinnati.iheart.com

WKFS (107.1 FM, "Kiss 107.1") is a radio station in the Cincinnati, Ohio market, licensed to nearby Milford. It broadcasts a contemporary hit radio format and is owned by iHeartMedia. The WKFS studios are located in Cincinnati's Kenwood Town Center, as is the station transmitter.

WKFS was established in 1969 as a local station for Milford and aired an easy listening format for most of the 1970s and early 1980s. After being sold, the station cycled through multiple low-rated formats, including adult contemporary, oldies, new age, and rock before finding stability in the 1990s with an alternative rock sound. The present contemporary hit radio format was instituted in 1998.

History

Early years in Milford

On May 18, 1968, Milford Associates, Inc., applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a new radio station on 107.1 MHz in Milford.[1] The FCC granted the application on November 18, and station WLYK started broadcasting in August 1969 from a studio on Main Street in Milford and a transmitter at Dry Run. Its format consisted of middle-of-the-road music and news and sports features for Clermont County.[2]

Shortly after going on the air, WLYK majority owner Fran Stratman's health deteriorated. A contract was signed to sell the station in 1970, but no transfer application materialized. In 1971, Stratman filed for a waiver to sell the station within three years of starting it—then only allowed in limited circumstances—to a new consortium of businessmen.[3] The studios were moved into the Gatch farmhouse, built in 1793. Taking the name of the Beautiful Island Broadcasting Company, the consortium flipped the station in April 1972 to easy listening music using syndicated product from TM Productions of Dallas. Along with other programming changes, Cincinnati radio personality Bud Stagg was hired as a morning announcer [4] and ratings increased by 50 percent.[5]

In 1975, Perry Samuels, a former head of Avco Broadcasting, purchased WLYK from Beautiful Island for $250,000.[6] The station switched from TM's syndication service to one developed by Marlin Taylor of Bonneville Broadcast Consultants, a division of Bonneville International.[7] Samuels kept the station in this format lane, even though it did take deviations. After dropping high school sports in the mid-1970s, Cincinnati Stingers hockey was added in 1979,[8] and Moeller High School football was added in 1980. The latter proved particularly popular, attracting new advertisers and listeners (though not much new revenue) and motivating the station to sign a three-year contract extension with the school for 1983, 1984, and 1985.[9]

Format changes in the 1980s and early 1990s

After Samuels reached a deal to sell WLYK in March 1982 and then called it off that same week,[10] he sold it to the Cincinnati Broadcasting Company, led by Richard Hallberg and Bob DeLuca, in 1984.[11] Despite initially planning to keep the beautiful music format, the new owners slowly moved the station to adult contemporary and changed the call letters to WRXY in March 1985.[12] The new format was changed to oldies after just five months.[13]

The third major change within less than 18 months came in 1986, when WRXY went to the syndicated "Format 41" soft adult contemporary programming from Transtar Radio Networks, retaining a local host in morning drive, and renamed itself WJOJ "Joy 107".[14][15] As Joy 107, Cincinnati Broadcasting sold WJOJ to Robert J. Plessinger for $1.287 million in 1987.[16] The "Joy" format, competing in a crowded adult contemporary marketplace, was replaced on December 11, 1988, by "The Breeze", a new age music format, under the new call sign of WRBZ.[17] Despite all of the changes, there was one constant: Mike Vaught, a blind news director and announcer, who joined in 1976.[18] At times, equipment at the station was customized and modified to allow Vaught to operate it.[19] Another DJ was music director Ann Oliver, who worked simultaneously at WRBZ and as a nurse.[20]

In April 1991, WRBZ dropped "The Breeze" to become "The Heat" with a satellite-fed,Top-40 format, adopting the WAQZ call sign the next month.[21] The change was necessary because of low ratings: the music director noted that, often, giveaways and on-air promotions were met with no callers at all.[22]

The Power Pig and Channel Z

Later in 1991, Plessinger signed a local marketing agreement, the first in the market,[23] with Cincinnati-based Jacor to operate WAQZ. Speculation immediately ran rampant of a potential new format for the station.[24] At year's end, the station dropped "The Heat" to become "The Power Pig", cloning a moniker used to great success by Jacor leader Randy Michaels at WFLZ-FM in Tampa, promoting "zero DJs and no music by dead guys" while seeking to run WZRZ (96.5 FM) out of the rock format.[25] Seven months later, WZRZ flipped to country.[26]

The Power Pig, however, overlapped considerably with Jacor's other FM, WEBN (102.7 FM), in terms of music, and this similarity hurt WEBN's ratings. As a result, in April 1993, the Power Pig came to an end and was replaced by an alternative rock format as "Channel Z", competing with WOXY (97.7 FM).[27] Later that year, Plessinger sold the station license to Middle Market Broadcasting, owned by Chuck Reynolds, for $2 million.[28]

Hit radio

In August 1998, Jacor flipped WAQZ to contemporary hit radio as WKFS "Kiss 107", beginning an attack on market-leading CHR WKRQ.[29][30] (The WAQZ call letters were revived in 2000 on 97.3 FM when it flipped to alternative.[31]) In January 1999, after nearly a decade running the Milford station, Jacor acquired it outright alongside WSAI and WCKY from Middle Market Broadcasting, which had leased all three.[32] It was not until 2004 that WKFS and WVMX (94.1 FM) were united with the rest of the cluster, moving from their studios in Mount Auburn to new facilities in Kenwood.[33]

In 2000, WKFS posted a major ratings increase to edge ahead of WKRQ for the first time.[34] The station placed third overall in the market in the spring 2002 survey, part of a one-two-three sweep by WLW, WEBN, and WKFS.[35] This success came as Clear Channel Communications (today's iHeartMedia), which had purchased Jacor in 1999, aggressively used voicetracking and the sharing of DJs among stations in similar formats, to the point that one Cincinnati Post column in 2002 noted the station had "almost no DJs based in Cincinnati".[36] By 2019, however, the station was pulling less than half the rating of WKRQ.[37]

WKFS began airing a local morning show hosted by Tiffany Potter in April 2021. It was the first time since 2012, when Jare and Joey were axed after less than six months to make way for The Kane Show, that WKFS had a local morning show. That was replaced in 2016 by Brooke & Jeffrey, also syndicated.[38][37] The station is also local in afternoons with JonJon & Friends, featuring Jon Curl, formerly of WKRQ.[39]

HD Radio

WKFS has been broadcasting in HD Radio since January 2006; its first HD2 subchannel offering was a classic hip-hop format, part of an expansion of multicasting across the Clear Channel portfolio.[40]

At 1 p.m. on June 21, 2019, WKFS-HD2 began airing programming from "Pride Radio" under the slogan of "The Pulse of LGBTQ Cincinnati" to coincide with Cincinnati's Pride Day & parade.[41]

The HD3 subchannel carries Air 1 from the Educational Media Foundation under agreement. Two translators in the area depend on WKFS's feed of Air 1, W245AJ Forest Park and W238BJ Auburn.[42]

References

  1. ^ FCC History Cards for WKFS
  2. ^ Adams, Magee (August 31, 1969). "WWL Service After Hurricane Is Example". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 4-B. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Second Contract Signed To Sell Milford Station". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. August 9, 1971. p. 4. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ "Billboard". 28 April 1973.
  5. ^ Wood, Mary (May 9, 1973). "Soft sell music pays off in one year for FM-WLYK". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 80. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ "$250,000 Deal". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. January 17, 1975. p. 22. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ Hoffman, Steve (November 22, 1975). "Station Chief Feels: WLYK's Music Among Best". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. B-6. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Koch, Bill (September 28, 1979). "On 'LYK: Stingers' games won't pave way for prep sports". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 5V. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ King, Peter (January 30, 1983). "Moeller A Winner On Airwaves, Too". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-13. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "WLYK sale called off by owner". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. April 3, 1982. p. 11A. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ Brinkmoeller, Tom (April 16, 1984). "Stations Call Cease-Fire In Radio War". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-8. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "WLYK-FM To Change Call Letters". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. February 10, 1985. p. F-7. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "WRXY-FM Coming On With New Format". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. August 8, 1985. p. D-16. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ Wecker, David (January 16, 1986). "Milford's Y-107 changing its name and format". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 11B. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Kiesewetter, John (February 28, 1986). "Area Emmy race is on: Field loaded with nominations of Cincinnati talent". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. B-9. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Changing Hands" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 15, 1986. p. 101. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-11-08. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  17. ^ Paeth, Greg (March 13, 1989). "Tuning in: Cincinnati radio: The little guys scramble; the big guys stand pat". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 3B, 5B. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Part of the WRBZ team: Radio news director and announcer won't let blindness slow him down". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. March 28, 1989. p. 80. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Lang, Tony (June 10, 1981). "At Dark, Blind DJ Breaks Sound Of Silence". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-1. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ "The double life of Ann Oliver: Nurse moonlights in radio". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. March 20, 1989. p. B-1, B-7. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  21. ^ Paeth, Greg (April 18, 1991). "WRBZ drops jazz sound, heats up with top rock hits". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 9B. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ Kiesewetter, John (April 25, 1991). "Broadcast news". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-7. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ Kent, Jennifer; Bolton, Douglas (November 19, 1992). "WLW parent to buy WKRC". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 10B. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Kiesewetter, John (December 19, 1991). "Radio's bad boy turns up 'The Heat'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-7. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "Cincy LMA Yields New 'Pig'" (PDF). Radio & Records. January 3, 1992. p. 8. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-03-05. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  26. ^ Kiesewetter, John (August 11, 1992). "Z-ROCK rolls into country music as The River". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C-5. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Kiesewetter, John (April 20, 1993). "Metal is slashed from 'Power Pig' WAQZ". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C6. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  28. ^ "Transactions" (PDF). Radio & Records. November 26, 1993. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-03-05. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  29. ^ Kiesewetter, John (August 13, 1998). "Gumbel canceled". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C4. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ "Harris Switches To Channel Z/Columbus" (PDF). Radio & Records. September 18, 1998. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2022-04-30.
  31. ^ Kiesewetter, John (April 4, 2000). "WAQZ could signal radio war". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C6. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  32. ^ Paeth, Greg (January 8, 1999). "Jacor acquires three stations". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 7C. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  33. ^ Bird, Rick (June 29, 2004). "Radio super power: 8 Clear Channel stations now based in Kenwood studios". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 1B, 2B. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  34. ^ Kiesewetter, John (February 14, 2000). "WEBN rocks its way to No. 1". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. C4. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  35. ^ Kiesewetter, John (July 29, 2002). "Stars line up for 'Simpsons'". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. D4. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  36. ^ Bird, Rick (August 22, 2002). "Dusty will likely show up elsewhere". The Cincinnati Post. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. 3B. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  37. ^ a b "Kiss 107.1 Cincinnati Goes Local In Mornings". RadioInsight. April 8, 2021. Archived from the original on April 8, 2021. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
  38. ^ Kiesewetter, John (September 12, 2012). "KISS 107 morning team gets nuked too". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  39. ^ Venta, Lance (November 2, 2021). "Kiss 107.1 Cincinnati Debuts JonJon & Friends In Afternoons". RadioInsight. Archived from the original on November 19, 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  40. ^ Kiesewetter, John (January 27, 2006). "WGUC jazz station joins 7 other radio channels in high-definition format". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Cincinnati, Ohio. p. E1. Archived from the original on April 30, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ Venta, Lance (June 21, 2019). "iHeartMedia Expands Pride Radio to 12 Additional Markets". RadioInsight. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  42. ^ "Master Station List". air1.com. Educational Media Foundation. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2022.